Senior Veteran (female)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Re: Loads of medical history paper/how do others cope
just let me add,as a former medic(before my life ended due to spinal cord injuries)i saw some really interesting ways that people tried to do just this .some were kind of good,others were simply useless in an emergent situation.
i have TONS of my own medical records just due to my own major medical probelms and my son,who underwent a liver transplant years ago and also has a huge list of other medical maladies,also has a ton of info.
now for him,only because he doe not carry a purse(thank god)we made a laminated copy of his meds and we also made up a quick list of other pertinent info for him to fold up in his wallet,this is just incase something happens when he isn't around home.his medic alert tag simply states'see wallet for medical info" thats it.
now i also,for him and myself,have two expandable folders that i keep the most important info in.the major records are kept in another file cabinet,but quite honestly,in an emergent situation,you don't even need the whole big picture,just the most recent tests,copies of any labs all the conditions you have allergies to any meds a quck list of surgeries.i just keep the really important stuff in the expandable folder and also bring these to all our appts.in the event of an emergency,all i have to do is grab that folder and go.
all the ER docs and medics really need is the basics,and then having that folder availiable to the docs when you get to the hosp.just hand it over to them.
now for myself,just incase i have an emergent situation and i am not at home,i got one of those little "picture books"?you know the ones where you can put pictures in?this one is about 5x5 and fits really nicely into my purse,across the binder area i placed a label that sticks out when you look into my purse that says"EMS info"across that binder.it is easily seen just by opening my purse.now,since i have many different medical problems,i also see five seperate specialists.i obtained a buisiness card from every doc that i have seen or am currently seeing and placed these in the front,and wrote my primarys name and number on the inside cover in very big letters.
i then sat down and went thru all the medical procedures and surgeries and conditions i have been Dxed with,when they were Dxed,my active docs numbers and what i see them for,and any special medic alert,which i wrote'medics,read first' only because of a very excruciating neuro pain syndrome i now have within my L arm where i absolutely cannot have BPs done on or the reaction is over the top,i also told them exactly where they can place an IV,from the L wrist on down into the top of my hand.this leaves the R arm for BPs.luckily my pain syndrome stops slightly above the L wrist or this really could be a major problem.but the medics read that first so they are aware.ialso have a permanently constricted pupil which was caused by sympathetic nervous system damage.this info is really important only because no matter how big or small my R pupil is,that left one is always very constricted.if i didn';t tell them this info,they could assume anything from a stroke to a possible head injury and do a ton of unnessescary testing if i were unconcious.any info like that really needs to be placed on that list of stuff.it saves alot of time and trouble and money for useless tests.
i also,of course have all my meds listed along with the normal dosing instructions the dosing is important mostly from an inpatient standpoint.if you have to be admitted,and are unable to speak for yourself,thay have all of your meds listed along with all of the things they need to know in order to keep you on schedule.without the dosing,they can only guess at frequency.
but just listing all the highlights on one piece of paper,then folding it up and placing into this "book" has all of the really important and critical stuff right there for them to read.i just really wouldn't bother spending any monet on any computer based programs that are availiable out there,mostly since if you are out in the boonies somewhere how are the medics even supposed to access it.i personally would rather always carry my info on me.i never go anywhere without my purse,so this book thing in my purse just made sense.it has plenty of pages for cards from docs,and any other readers digest version of the special instructions they need to know.as a medic,i feel that i have covered my bases pretty well and have included all of the info that i would look for on any given 911 call i used go to.just the facts.i also have all my familys contact info in there too.
the thing is,if you start including too much info,it will take alot of time for them to actually read thru it all,so having everything quickly and legibly listed is soo much easier on the people who are going to be treating you.thats what the expandable folder is for.the medics need the quick facts as well as docs in the ER,but the docs and nurses have a bit more time there to actually go thru the highlights.i have everything compartmentalized by labs,MRIs and other radiologic testing,surgeries(along with the op notes if there was something that happened during that particular surgery or procedure)and a few pages i copied off the internet that explain some of the more obscure and really ***arre conditions i have been Dxed with since docs do NOT know of every possible syndrome and condition.this really IS very helpful for them and at least gives them an idea of what they may be dealing with.but its all there in my folder.i think i have everything i need readily availiable.
between myself and my son,i have learned alot about keeping track of things,mostly the hard way.but having an EMS background was also very very helpful only because i know how the system works and what their needs are and things that are always done on every patient.
sorry this is long winded,but hopefully this will help someone.just having the info there and ready to go in any given situation really really helps the patient and the EMS people who are trying to help you and get you moving as quickly as possible.hopefully you wont need this info too often.take care,FB
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.